Hindustan Tibet Road & NH – 05 | Attractions & Interesting Places

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You can travel to Spiti Valley from Kinnaur side as well as Manali side. Many tourists and travelers plan the Spiti trip as a circuit, that is, traveling from Kinnaur side and then exiting from Manali side. After an introduction of both Hindustan Tibet Road and NH-05 along with the differences between them in the first article, in this article, we will look at the major attractions or places of interest that falls on or around Hindustan – Tibet Road and NH-5.

If you are making a trip to Spiti Valley then the information in this article and the most common itinerary for Spiti Valley can prove quite handy to make a memorable trip.

Interesting Places on Hindustan Tibet Road or NH-5

In this article, I will try to dissect the whole Hindustan Tibet Road and NH-5 into various sections of interest. I will provide as much information as possible for those sections of this treacherous road so that you make your journey to Spiti Valley ever memorable 🙂

Updated the article as on December 2017 because a lot of highways have been renamed including NH – 22 being renamed to National Highway 5 or NH5 and as mentioned in the wiki link. Now the NH5 connects Firozpur in Punjab to Shipki La pass at Sino-Indian border in Himachal Pradesh. Similarly, the road connecting Kaza to Tabo from Sumdo is now called as NH505 instead of State Highway – 30 or SH-30. This article has been updated with these name changes.

Drive from Delhi to Shimla
A Sunrise in Shimla… A Broader View…

Shimla – Kufri – Narkanda – Rampur – Sarahan

Shimla is the place where you start your journey on Hindustan Tibet Road and is an extremely popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh. Mostly, either people reach Shimla on the first day and those who want to stay away from the hustle bustle, they opt for Narkanda for the first night stay.

You can visit Kufri, another tourist destination, while on the move from Shimla to Narkanda and just ahead of Kufri there are lots of hotels at a town named Fagu which also can be used for an overnight stay at first day in between Shimla and Narkanda.

Depending upon the time on hands, one can also visit Hatu Peak from Narkanda to see a lovely sunset or enjoy the snow, if present.

Narkanda
Narkanda looking calm and soothing…

Rampur is a the town in Himachal Pradesh and can be used as a lunch stop on Day two on the way to either Sarahan or Sangla / Kalpa from Shimla / Narkanda.

Ahead of Rampur near Jeori, there is a U-Turn off the main highway on the right which takes you all the way to Sarahan about 14 KMs from Jeori. If time is not an issue, you can surely stay at Sarahan which is a very quiet place with some valley nice views. You can stay at the HPTDC Hotel Shrikhand in Sarahan.

HPTDC Cafe Satluj, Rampur
Our usual meal spot… HPTDC Cafe Satluj, Rampur…
Lord Hanuman Statue at Rampur
Jai Jai Jai Bajrang Bali at Rampur…

Lower Kinnaur Valley | Sarahan – Sangla / Chitkul – Powari – Reckong Peo – Kalpa

Technically, Saharan, Sangla, Chitkul, Reckong Peo and Kalpa are NOT over Hindustan – Tibet Highway but generally they are used for night stops on a journey to Spiti Valley over Hindustan Tibet Road or NH-22. All of them being very beautiful are not the places to be missed 🙂

Saharan, Sangla, Chitkul, Kalpa can also be clubbed as a 6-7 day trip ex. Delhi if someone is short on the days in hand to make a complete Spiti Valley trip. A trip to Kinnaur Valley does include all these places only. Hence, I have covered them in depth in my article on Travel Guide to Kinnaur Valley.

Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Making its way… through the mountains……
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley

Reckong Peo is the headquarter of Kinnaur Valley and permits for Kinnaur Valley regions are issued from Reckong Peo only.

Chitkul is the last village in India about 30 odd KMs ahead of Sangla and surely one of the most beautiful places to visit.

Before the U-turn of Reckong Peo, a village Tapri has a Petrol pump on the road which shall not be missed at any cost for refueling because the next petrol pump is at Kaza on the way to Spiti.

Earlier, Powari used to have a petrol pump but that has gone inoperational in recent years. You can also get fuel or diesel or petrol at Reckong Peo as well.

Information about Hindustan Tibet Road at Powari
Information about Hindustan Tibet Road at Powari..
Information about Hindustan Tibet Road at Powari
Information about Hindustan Tibet Road at Powari..
Hindustan Tibet Road near Reckong Peo Cut-off
Hindustan Tibet Road near Reckong Peo Cut-off…

Upper Kinnaur Valley | Kalpa – Namgia – Shipki La – Khab Bridge

You move from Kalpa via Reckong Peo towards Ribba, Akpa, Jangi, Spillow, Dubling, Puh, Khab Village and further.

The road conditions between Reckong Peo to Ribba and Spillow to Dubling are generally very bad in shape.

Puh is a major town where you can get various things from Puh General Store and there is a PWD rest house as well 4-5 KMs off the main road.

Akpa is a place where there was a major landslide that hit in 1995 killing about 100 including soldiers and alignment was changed with the construction of 350 feet Akpa bridge in 2006, a good 11 years after the landslide tragedy. There is also a stone near the bridge with the names of the fallen soldiers.

After Akpa as you move ahead, you need to register yourself at Lippa – Jangi Police Post. Again foreigners need to show their permits and Indians need to show a valid photo identity proof.

The Akpa Bridge in Kinnaur Valley
The Akpa Bridge in Kinnaur Valley…
Views on Hindustan Tibet Highway
The Satluj River flowing towards Shimla…
Puh Village in Kinnaur Valley
Puncture repair shop at Puh Village in Kinnaur Valley

Getting to Shipki La is a different story as it is a pass that connects India and Tibet. The route to Shipki La comes before Nako or Ka Zigs (loops) and just before the Khab bridge (about 2 KMs), you will see a Y-Fork uphill going towards Khab VillageNamgiaShipki La is about 40 KMs from the highway and then you are only allowed to go to Namgia village.

From Namgia Village, the road ascends to Shipki La and again a lot of things depend if the guys at the posts allow you to go there. Plus be ready for good session of interrogations and all sought of gadgets packed in the bag including the camera, because photography is strictly prohibited there.

I have known just few guys who have done Shipki La and one of them really had tough time with the ITBP guys who deposited all his electronic gadgets before allowing him to venture ahead. On return he was allowed to take them back… So, it is quite an adventure but again they both were bikers and I am not sure how they will react seeing the car over there…

Namgia Dogri is your best bet for the view of Reo Purgyal Peak but as civilian you will be allowed up to Namgia Village only. Villagers from Namgia can only go up to Dogri. But, you can get a view of Reo Purgyal from Khab Bridge as well 🙂

If you are interested to know more about the silk route in detail then better talk to some old people from villages like Namgia, Nako, Nesang, Dubling and Chitkul villages.

Khab is a place where there is a bridge over the confluence of Spiti River and Sutluj River Just ahead of the bridge, you cross a section which is carved out of the mountain almost like a one wall tunnel 🙂 … Technically, Khab Bridge is not on Hindustan Tibet Road but on NH-22

Views on Hindustan Tibet Highway
China is not far away from here… On the way to Namgia / Khab Villages…
Carved roads near Khab Bridge on Hindustan Tibet Highway
The famous carved roads near Khab Bridge…

Upper Kinnaur Valley | Khab – Nako – Malling Nalla – Chango – Sumdo

After Khab bridge, you feel out of the world and then an ascend of Ka Loops takes you to one of the most picturesque villages in the world Nako Nako is also famous for its Nako Lake, a small lake with a beautiful backdrop – not to be missed.

As you move further, you meet the dreaded Malling Nalla, the most troublesome spot of entire Hindustan Tibet Road. It is almost a landslide zone 24 X 7 X 365 🙂 … In monsoon time, your heart will pound like anything to cross over this section of the road.

Once you cross Malling, then a steep descent will take you all the way down to Chango Village. be careful on you descend as it is quite steep. Chango is a place where you see loads of Apple Orchards. Do not miss the chance to buy some golden apples or apricots, if possible or available.

Finally, you reach Sumdo and this is where you will see the signboard of “Welcome to Spiti Valley” and you exit Kinnaur Valley. At Sumdo, you need to register yourself again at police check post as the region fall under Inner Line permit zone or near LAC (Line of Actual Control) and Foreigners need to submit their copy permits at Sumdo.

Kah Loops towards Nako
Kah Loops towards Nako
The Ever Calm - Nako Lake
The Ever Calm – Nako Lake…
Views on Hindustan Tibet Highway
Sitting High and Pretty near Nako… The White Queen…
Road between Malling Nalla and Chango
Curving its way up towards deadly Malling Nalla…
Road between Malling Nalla and Chango
What a view just after Malling Nalla…
Views between Chango and Nako in Kinnaur Valley
BRO Creates, Connects and Cares… So, true…

Spiti Valley | Sumdo – Kaurik – Geyu Mummy – Tabo

Just ahead of Sumdo comes the most interesting part, the Y-Fork that leads you uphill to Kaurik. Kaurik is a mysterious place which was deserted some 25-28 years back in earthquake/flash floods and now you can find ruins of the place if you are ready to hike a bit once the road ends after about 19 KMs.

Beyond Kaurik, there is a village called Lepcha which requires you to further hike about an hour or so. Lepcha is the last place in India you can reach and ahead lies Tibet beyond the Indo-Tibet Border ends. Anyhow, Kaurik falls under a restricted area as far as I know and permits are hard to find for Kaurik. So, the best bet is to land there and ask the permissions from army guys if you can pass through. If they say yes, then go ahead and explore this amazing mysterious place in Spiti Valley.

No permits are issued for Kaurik and Shipki La by any direct access. It may be possible with some contacts but I haven’t heard anything about it. Best bet is to land there directly and then you need to be lucky enough to assure the guy at the post that you will just return without any trouble. You might find some accounts over the Internet who have done it this way only.

Sumdo, Views at Hindustan Tibet Road between Nako and Tabo
Sumdo checkpost from where the Spiti valley starts…
Views at Hindustan Tibet Road between Nako and Tabo
Finally the views from Spiti Valley starts alongside Spiti River…

Though, not exactly on Hindustan Tibet Road or NH-5 (earlier called NH-22), I will still cover Geyu Village here as it is not far from Sumdo check post. When you further move ahead towards Tabo at NH-505 (earlier called SH-30) from Sumdo, there comes a diversion towards the right that takes you to Geyu Village.

Geyu Village is famous for 500+ year old mummy which is present in this village. It will take you about 2 Hrs to visit Geyu from the diversion point.

Welcome gate for turn to Geyu Village
The Geyu diversion where the 550+ odd year old mummy resides…
Burning Colors of Spiti Valley
Burning Colors of Spiti Valley…

Tabo – Dhankar – Lingti Valley – Rama Valley – Pin Valley – Kaza

I will be covering Tabo, Dhankar, Pin Valley, Lingti Valley, Rama Valley, Kaza in much more detail in upcoming travel guide for Spiti Valley Local sightseeing. You can refer some of the articles as below:

Views at Hindustan Tibet Road between Nako and Tabo
Leading us to heaven – Spiti Valley

Conclusion

I hope the above details about the whole Hindustan Tibet Road would make your journey much more beautiful, fascinating and informational in terms of the context of Travel. If you have been to this breath-taking journey to Spiti Valley or will be undertaking it, please do share the information with us as well and help other travelers build knowledge about this at least once in a lifetime journey.

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.

If you know your friends or family are planning a road trip to Kinnaur and Spiti, do share this article with them to help them make a memorable Kinnaur or Spiti Valley road trip.

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145 Comments

  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there !!

  2. Sahil Thakur on

    Need your suggestion on following:

    we taking Hyundai – i10 Grand (may 26 – June 4)

    Day 1: Delhi – Shimla / Narkanda
    Day 2: Shimla / Narkanda – Kalpa/reckong peo
    Day 3: Kalpa/reckong peo – Kaza
    Day 4: Kaza – Ki, Kibber, Komik, Hikkim
    Day 5: Kaza – Chandratal
    Day 6: chandertaal – Ki, Kibber, Komik, Hikkim – kaza
    Day 7: Kaza – Nako – Nako Lake – Tabo – chitkul
    Day 8 : chitkul – sangla – shimla
    Day 9 ; Shimla – delhi

      • SAHIL THAKUR on

        Yes , primary because of our car (don’t think will be able to cross those roads)
        Secondly we’re born & brought in HP only so have done manali Rohtang lot many times, but beyond rampur will be our first time.

        • Hmm, if you are taking the car to Chandratal from Kaza, it does not really matter then. You can take it on Manali – Kaza road as well. Well, Manali – Rohtang Pass is just 51 KMs but rest from Kaza to Rohtang Pass will be much more to experience.

        • Sahil Thakur on

          alright,
          is it good to take our car till chandertaal from Kaza? otherwise we’ll book a cab from kaza

          also any comments on our itinerary.

        • Sahil, some people does take such cars to whole circuit of the Spiti. But, yes, in case you are planning to do that route to Chandratal by taxi then it makes sense to come back the same route from Kinnaur as you would like to avoid taking car over Manali – Kaza road.

  3. Hi Dheeraj

    You have an absolutely awesome website-informative, pretty detailed and all encompassing.

    I was planning a trip to Spiti with 7 nights in hand from Delhi, via public transport. We are planning the trip from 28th May to 3rd June.

    The rough itinerary looks something like this-
    28- Enroute Delhi to Shimla
    29- Night stay in Chitkul
    30- N.S. in Reckong Peo
    31- N.S. in Tabo
    1- N.S. in Kaza
    2- N.S. in Manali
    3- Enroute Manali-Delhi

    Is it practically feasible?
    Will the route from Kaza to Manali be open by then?

    • Thank you Pranjal, I will recommend following tweaks to it though you have very less days at hand and it does not make sense to make a trip to Spiti Valley in this short duration. Also, both Kaza – Manali – Kaza – Kinnaur – Shimla routes are open now, so no worries in planning the trip on above dates unless the road closes due to some landslide during those days.

      Day 1: Delhi – Shimla / Narkanda
      Day 2: Shimla / Narkanda – Kalpa
      Day 3: Kalpa – Nako – Nako Lake – Tabo
      Day 4: Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Pin Valley – Kaza
      Day 5: Kaza – Ki, Kibber, Komik, Hikkim
      Day 6: Kaza – Chandratal – Manali
      Day 7: Manali – Delhi

      OR

      Day 1 : Reach Manali by overnight volvo of and stay overnight at Solang Valley as preferred for acclimatization
      Day 2 : Manali / Solang – Kaza
      Day 3 : Kaza – Pin Valley – Tabo
      Day 4: Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Kaza
      Day 5: Kaza – Ki, Kibber, Komik, Langza – Kaza
      Day 6: Kaza – Chandratal – Manali
      Day 7: Manali – Delhi

  4. hi, plz advise can chandigarh-shimla-kinnaur-spiti-manali-chandigarh be done in an alto? the time will be mid sept.. i just did chd-sangla-kalpa in my alto n didnt face any problems.

  5. I am Planing to visit Spiti Valley From Shimla Side. From 28th Aug 2017- Sep 10th. I have a queries.

    1. I am making a trip From Bike
    2. any stay guidance and stop to Take. although i follow your itinerary 10-11 day to spiti.

  6. Dear
    We are 4 peoples planning to visit spiti valley in march end via kinnaur valley is that road i open ??
    Can u plz suggest the best route we have to go there any how this time

    • Asif, the road to Spiti Valley will be open BUT it will be very harsh climate in Spiti during that time of the year. Are you sure you want to make such a trip? Have you undertaken such trips before?

  7. Hi Dheeraj,

    Been following this amazing blog for the past one and a half year. I am planning a travel to Spiti (especially Chandra Taal) on between April 30 to May 6th 2017. What are the probabilities of Rohtang Pass being open by then and how should I plan my travel from Shimla, considering that I will have only six days in hand (excluding to and fro Chennai).

    Is it possible to do this for four people with around 8K per person (excluding train fare/airfare) as the budget?

    If not, which place do you suggest, with the given budget, to see some beautiful snow capped mountains during the first week of May? This is going to be a family trip.

    • Smita, unfortunately, Chandratal is not accessible before at least month of June. The road from Rohtang Pass towards Chandratal opens by first or second week of June only. So, with just 6 days in hand you can only make trip to Chandratal from Manali side. Hence, I will suggest to make this trip in the month of June – July or in September.

  8. Nasim Ahmad on

    Hi DOW
    Our planning to Leh coming June with 2 other friends from Delhi to Narkanda, Rampur Spiti, Please inform me about total Km from Delhi to Leh via Hindustan Tibet Road and road conditions also we have SUV. Via Manali to Leh already covered by Bike .

    • Nasim, are you interested in KM or are you interested in the route? If by route and days then stops that you will need are Narkanda, Sangla/Kalpa, Tabo, Kaza (depends how many days now you want to spend in Kaza to explore Spiti), Keylong, Leh.

      If you do not have these days and want to continue driving long hours every day then it will be Narkanda, Kalpa, Kaza, Keylong, Leh.

  9. Hello, i am planning a kinnaur valley trip i n late december, dates will be
    28-sangla ,
    29th- kalpa/chitkul
    30th-rakcham/sarahan

    I need help if there will be any hotel/homestay avilable in those places durind late december
    plus i am thinking rakcham over sarahan coz “kailash view camps” looks interesting
    help is appreciated

    • Chikul will be closed by that time Akash. Only limited hotels will be open, may be check with PRakash Guest House in Sangla if they are open during that time. Road to Rakcham might be closed too and I do not think that any compaing site will be operational during that time.

  10. Hello Mr. Dheeraj, Just wanted to check in the month of may when does Hidustan – Tiben Road and NH 22 open.. does it open by May 20th..

    • NH-22 or Hindustan – Tibet road remains open all round the year barring few days of heavy snowfall in winters or any major landslide. Hence, May 20th is fine to travel

  11. VISHAL BHATIA on

    Hello Dheeraj ji,

    i ma planning to visit Leh Ladakh belt starting from 30th Sep 2016 (Chandigarh) till 14th Oct 2016 (Delhi). i have a few queries:
    1. I will self drive with wife and son on my Santro Xing. Is it doable on a Santro?
    2. Can you please guide me on a day wise breakup ?
    3. Will the Raid De Himalayas (7th oct till 15th oct) be any hindrance?
    4. Any idea about camping around Pangong Lake around the 7th / 8th Oct ?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    Vishal

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